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California Passes Bill Requiring Insurance Companies to Assist in Cost of Pediatric Hearing Aids

This past week, the California state legislature passed a bill, initially introduced in 2002, requiring private HMOs and PPOs to diffuse some of the cost of hearing aids for children ages 18 and younger. Senator Jack Scott pressed for the bill after a mother of two hearing-impaired children directed her concerns of the rising cost of amplification devices to the Senate. The current bill allows for a $1,000 limit to be applied to pediatric hearing aids and may be renewed every 36 months. The senate bill is awaiting Governor Schwarzenegger's approval to be passed into law. Visit www.aroundthecapitol.com/billtrack/billview.html?bill=sb_1223 for more information.

To date, only eight other states have mandates for reimbursement by insurance companies for children's hearing aids (CT, KY, LA, MD, MN, MO, OK, and RI). These states vary in coverage, in that some provide amplification yearly and others must wait a minimum of 36 months. Dollar amounts and age criterion differ greatly across states as well. Visit www.asha.org/about/legislation-advocacy/state/issues/ha_reimbursement.htm to view each state's criterion.

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